Speakers 2023

York Week: 19th – 22nd June 2023

Please note we are still collating Bios from the speakers and these will be uploaded over the next few weeks. For a full list of speakers please see our Schedule.

Howard Wilson, University of York – Fusion Energy: the conditions & approaches

Following 18 years working as a theoretical plasma physicist on the UK national fusion programme at UK Atomic Energy Authority’s Culham site, Howard Wilson was appointed as Chair of Plasma Physics at University of York in 2005. In 2012, he established the York Plasma Institute, and served as its Director until 2019. He has been Director of the EPSRC-funded Fusion Energy Centre for Doctoral Training since 2009, which now operates with some 80 PhD students across its five university partners. In 2017, Howard was appointed as UKAEA Research Programme Director on a part-time secondment, which included leading the development of the science and technology case for the STEP fusion demonstration power plant programme. He established the STEP programme as its interim Director during 2019-2020. He is presently Director for the £4.3M EPSRC research Programme Grant Turbulent Dynamics of Tokamak Plasmas (TDoTP) – a collaboration across four leading universities.


Gary Voss, UKAEA – The Tokamak

Garry Voss is currently working for UKAEA at the Culham Science Centre on Nuclear Fusion where he is the Lead Technical Advisor for Spherical Tokamaks. He is Facility Chief Engineer for the MAST-Upgrade project (a medium sized spherical tokamak) and also leads the development of the commercial fusion reactor design for the STEP project. He has previously worked on various fusion reactor projects mainly involving spherical tokamaks and also spent some time working in the aerospace industry on the development of space planes. His background is in electro-mechanical and nuclear engineering and the area he is most interested in is the architecture of a fusion device, where striking a balance between the often conflicting requirements of each sub-system is essential.


Nigel Woolsey, University of York – Inertial Confinement Fusion

Nigel Woolsey is currently a Professor at the University of York, where he has been based since 2002. He leads a research group that utilises advanced laser technologies to investigate inertial confinement fusion and laboratory astrophysics. Nigel received his education from the Universities of Bristol and Oxford, and subsequently worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Queen’s University Belfast, and the Central Laser Facility. With over 30 years of expertise in inertial confinement fusion, Nigel conducted experiments utilising the indirect drive approach to inertial fusion at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1994. Nigel’s more recent research has focused on the direct-drive approach, conducting experiments at the OMEGA laser at the University of Rochester, as well as various laser facilities across Europe and the UK. His research group is supported by funding from UK research councils, industry, and the USA.


Hugo Doyle, First Light Fusion – Inertial Confinement Fusion

Hugo Doyle is Head of Experimental Physics at First Light Fusion Ltd. His team has been responsible for building the capability to experimentally validate fusion in the laboratory, proving the First Light projectile fusion concept last year. This involved building a launcher to accelerate 1 cm scale projectiles to 10 km/s to impact deuterium tritium filled targets and measuring the burst of neutrons emitted, in the laboratory in Oxfordshire. Their focus is now switching to look at the next, much larger stage – a gain scale experiment.
He has been at First Light for eight years. Before this he studied laser driven laboratory astrophysics during his PhD at Imperial and as a post-doc at Oxford which involved using some of the largest lasers in the world to reproduce conditions similar to those found at the centre of a star.


Dr Aneeqa Khan, University of Manchester – Panel Chair

Dr Aneeqa Khan is a Research Fellow in Fusion. Having completed a PhD in materials for fusion applications, followed by working at the ITER Organization and Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, she is now based at the University of Manchester (co-sponsored by UKAEA and STFC). She is Co-Lead of Fusion Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) activities at Manchester and an associate director of the CDT. She is the Lead Dalton Nuclear Institute Champion and sits on the Fusenet board of governors. She also uses her expertise to engage with policy makers and the public. Her research interests are on materials for nuclear fusion.

Jan Coenen, Forschungszentrum Juelich, Germany – Plasma Exhaust and divertor design in Tokamaks

Jan Willem Coenen studied Physics at RWTH Aachen University from 2006, after which he turned his attention to Fusion Research in the form of a PhD in Plasma Physics at Heinrich Heine University and Research Center Juelich, particularly edge plasma diagnostics. Since 2009 he is part of the Plasma-Wall -Interaction activities at Forschungszentrum Juelich where he is, since 2013, the leader of the Materials and Components Department. As part of his activities he is leading a Subproject in the EUROfusion Work-package of Plasma Wall Interaction and Exhaust. In addition he is an Adjunct Professor for Engineering Physics at UW-Madison, and Topical Leader Materials in the ITPA Divertor SOL.

Oxfordshire Week 25th – 28th September 2023

Mark Gilbert, UKAEA – Fusion Waste and Waste Management

Mark has more than 15 years’ experience working on computational nuclear inventory analysis and nuclear materials modelling at the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority. Mark is the programme leader for a team concerned with all aspects of understanding how materials will interact with the fusion environment, in areas including activation analysis and waste assessments, atomistic modelling, nuclear data evaluation and acquisition, corrosion and oxidation, plasma wall interactions and magnetic effects. The team supports both the operation of current reactors such as MAST-U and JET, and predictions and modelling for future experiments and reactors such as ITER, STEP and EU-DEMO. Mark is also heavily involved in the development of the regulatory strategy for fusion, particularly concerning waste handling, as is interacting with international bodies such as IAEA to consider how best to measure, regulate and mitigate radioactive waste from fusion reactors.